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However, it is wrong to assume that Nimâ in his nature poetry ignores social issues and only expresses his personal isolation. In “The tree-toad” (Dârvak) Nimâ by using phrases like “my neighbor's field” and “the nearby shore”, which allude to the former Soviet Union on the other side of the Caspian sea, puts an ideal social icon in front of himself. Nevertheless, he takes refuge in nature again and poses his questions to the “tree-toad” which according to the folk beliefs is the harbinger of rain:
My field has gone dry
beside my neighbor's field.
Though they say: mourners among mourners
weep on the nearby shore.
Harbinger of cloudy days, tree-toad, when will rain arrive?
This stand upon which nothing stands,
this dark hovel of mine inside which
there is not an atom of joy . . .
and the layer of reed-ribs on my room's wall
is bursting from their dryness-
like the hearts of lovers away from their loves . . .
Harbinger of cloudy days, tree-toad, when will rain arrive?
In “My House is Cloudy” Nimâ does not want to loose his vision. Contrary to “On the River Bank”, in which he gives up his visionary sun to the actual sun of the old turtle, here in spite of the cloudy sky, he keeps his sunny day inside. Along with that, he also keeps the flute player who symbolizes artists in general. The cloud is going to shed rain and with it the emotional frustration will be relieved:
My house is cloudy,
The entire surface of the earth is cloudy with it.
From above the mountain-pass whirls
The shattered, desolate, drunken wind.
The entire world is desolated by it.
As is my mind.
O piper whom the voice of the reed-flute has taken far from the road,
Where are you?
My house is cloudy but
The cloud is going to shed its rain
Remembering the sunlit days that slipped through my fingers
I guide my glance to the face of my sun
On the surface of the sea.
And all the world is shattered and desolated by the wind
And on the road, the piper, who continuously plays his reed-flute,
In this cloud-covered world
Has his own road before him.
The 1953 coup d'état against the nationalist prime-minister, Mohammad Mossadeg brought the run-away king back to power, and it put an end to the shaky and semi-democratic years after the Second World War. Political parties were banned, many military officers who belonged to the Tudeh party were executed, and the opposition writers including Nimâ were arrested. All this added to the sense of frustration and loneliness of the poet. In a letter, dated 1955, which has come as the last part of the Neighbor's Words, we feel this bitterness is apparent:
I am infinitely sad. Days pass that I do not see anyone, and I have shut the door on myself, but I do not recover from my depression. In seclusion, regret overcomes me more often, as if trees were blooming out of my chest, and sparrows, swallows, and kâkolis were singing in my skull. So, writing is a must for me, but I rarely write any poetry. . .
In “It's Night” (Hast shab), night is compared to a “swollen body”, and the poet who burns with fever in a few sketchy descriptive lines creates an atmosphere in which three layers of natural, social, and personal are intermingled:
It's night, a dark night and the earth
Has lost its hue
The wind, cloud-born wind
Charges at me from the mountainside.
It's night, air standing like a hot swollen body
Thus it is that the lost man does not see the way.
Stretched with its half-warm body, the vast desert
Is a corpse in a narrow grave
Like my crushed heart
Like my weary body burning in an awful fever
It's night, yes, night.
In “The Bull” (kak-ki), a bull is bellowing from afar, as if it were lost, and in a blink the reader gets the impression that the poet and perhaps his generation is lost:
For a long time the lost bull
Has been bellowing from the quiet grove.
He is hidden from sight like a fairy
The meadow has become his prison,
He has no peace
And no companion
But full of strength and vigor
The lost bull has been bellowing
From the quiet grove for a long time.
However, the years of suppression could not separate Nimâ from work and hope. A big selection of his poems; the long poem of Mâneli and his theoretical work, The Value of Feelings, came to the market, and his house became the Mecca of young poets. Moreover, we can feel hope and a new vision in Nimâ's poems as well. In “The Snow” dated 1955 the poet conveys the dubious atmosphere of hope and despair of those years. He is watching the sunrise from the window of an inn. The top of Mount آzâku is visible and Mount Vâznâ is covered with clouds, and it makes the poet's heart heavy:
The yellows have not become red for no reason
redness has not cast its color on the wall
for no reason.
Morning has appeared from over the آzâku mountain
but Vâznâ cannot be seen.
The lightless snow-dust, its work all chaos,
has settled on every window.
He finds a correlation between the sleepy travelers and the top of snow covered Mount Vâznâ:
Vâznâ cannot be seen,
and my heart is very heavy
from this guest-killing guest-house, dark its day,
which has set these strangers against each other:
a few people,
unaware. . .
The last part of this poem has almost become proverbial among the young intelligentsia in Iran, especially the political prisoners who see a similarity between the “guest-killer, guest-house” and that of the prison. A friend of mine told me that in 1983-1984 when every day they were witnessing the departure of their friends from Even prison to the execution field, she had engraved this stanza with a needle beneath a wooden bed. In times of despair, she would crawl under the bed and would read the poem over and over. This example shows the power of poetry in times of hardship and frustration.
In Siolisheh (a type of black beetle), dated March 1956, the poet identifies himself with a beetle which taps to the window-pane to get to the light inside:
On this side of the shore at midnight
The black beetle
At the pane.
I have advised him
A thousand times
That in my room
There is no bed for you.
I have swept this room
A thousand times by hand.
The lamp is spent
And a thousand kindly words
Are on my lips.
The poet knows that hope for light had failed previously, and at this time it will inevitably fail, too. However there is a little beetle in his soul which drags him towards light:
He's disregarding me
He has begun to strive
Thinking of the light
By which he was deceived
And this time is deceived again.
In the small of midnight
When age-old time is sleeping,
Like the world in agony,
He pounds head
he pounds foot.
Little black beetle
On the pane >>> To be continued